Keep It Clean

    Hoover Crop  

Simple steps you can take at home to  prevent water pollution .

Take a Tour

Watershed Signage

Signage installed at Griggs, O'Shaughnessy & Hoover Reservoirs invites park visitors to  take a self-guided tour along the shoreline & learn about the green infrastructure installed there.

Rain gardens, porous pavement & more can improve the quality of storm water entering the reservoirs that supply our drinking water.

Non-point Source Pollution

Stormwater Runoff

Protect our Waterways
Illustration Courtesy of NCDENR

Watershed Management Program

A high quality water supply source allows us to provide Columbus area residents with excellent drinking water at a reasonable cost.

Our Watershed Management Section works with the Recreation and Parks Department to protect surface water supplies by jointly managing the reservoirs and adjacent land at our three  waterdrinking water reservoirs: Hoover, Griggs and O’Shaughnessy. Together, these reservoirs supply 85% of the drinking water treated and distributed daily.

watershed image 1The Big Walnut Creek watershed, with a land mass of 190 square miles, supplies the largest of Columbus’ reservoirs. Hoover Reservoir (photo) has 3,073 water surface acres and holds around 20 billion gallons of water. More than 500,000 people receive their drinking water from Hoover. Each year thousands of visitors enjoy the park areas and limited-horsepower boating. Fishing, rowing, sailing and disc golf are popular recreational draws as are bird-watching and family picnics.

O’Shaughnessy and Griggs Reservoirs are located within the 1,000 square mile Upper Scioto River watershed. O’Shaughnessy has a water surface area of 845 acres and a volume of nearly 5 billion gallons. Further downstream, Griggs Reservoir has a water surface area of 385 acres and a volume of around 1 billion gallons. These reservoirs provide fishing, watershed image 2 waterskiing, and picnicking and are used by several crew teams.

Watershed Management is responsible for water quality protection and the surrounding city-owned property. Maintenance personnel ensure the park areas are accessible and service the dams and other infrastructure. Watershed Protection Specialists protect city property and preserve water quality by identifying water quality impairments and educating visitors and landowners on environmental stewardship.

The Land Stewardship Program provides a means of working with the more than 1,200 landowners who live adjacent to city-owned reservoir property. The program provides residents with guidance and limited management opportunities to maintain the city property along the reservoirs’ edge.   

Residents and businesses located along reservoirs have a great responsibility. One of the most environmentally important areas of a watershed is the area directly adjacent to the banks of the reservoirs. Flowing surface water picks up contaminants such as motor oil, fertilizer and litter as it makes its way to the reservoir. Watershed Management staffers encourage residents and upstream farmers to protect the sensitive shorelines by maintaining a buffer of natural vegetation. View  Keep It Clean for more tips on preventing water pollution.

For more information about the Watershed Management program, please call 614-645-1721.

History of the Watershed Management Program 

With a growing population and an increasing demand for superior drinking water, the city recognized the need to maintain and protect the reservoirs.  This voluntary agreement provides residents an opportunity to actively participate in protecting the source of our community’s drinking water. Learn More